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Friday 19 August 2022

Airport security fails commonsense test

Any regular traveller will be familiar with the many frustrations of going through airport security checks and x-ray machines. 

At one airport you must take off your shoes and belt. At others you sail through wearing both.

Some airports insist you remove your laptop and place it in a separate bin to go through the x-ray machine. At others you are instructed to leave your laptop in your hand luggage. 

Aerosols? Nail clippers? The list of inconsistencies goes on and on. 

My latest brush with security nazis was at Adelaide Airport earlier this week. It's generally a nice, spacious, modern, well-run facility. 

My crime on this occasion? I was in possession of a handy little wine opening tool with a small corkscrew, tiny foil cutter and beer bottle opener. 

It had been inspected at Hobart Airport by a supervisor two days earlier. The corkscrew portion was no problem and the foil cutter passed muster as it was serrated and not sharp. Off you go.

So I carried the tool on flights from Hobart to Melbourne and Melbourne to Adelaide. No problem. 

Then, at Adelaide Airport it attracted attention when scanned. It was deemed "dangerous". 

I protested that it had been declared "safe" two days earlier. With time to waste, I asked for a supervisor. He was happy with the corkscrew element but deemed the foil-cutter to be a couple of centimetres too long. 

Someone on the security crew was about to gain a nifty little tool - so I asked to be given the device so I could destroy it myself and ruin their fun. 

"Not allowed". Why? It was already in the bin.  

When I asked why it was dangerous at one airport but not at another, I was told "all airports are different". 

But why? Surely uniform rules across the board would make life easier for both travellers and security staff? 

Apparently not. 

So we continue on our stupid way with our watches setting off the x-ray machines at one airport, but not the next. 

All in an attempt to make travellers feel "safe". 

We know that is a complete furphy. Remember pre-Covid when every third or fourth flyer underwent an "explosives test". 

Now there are not enough airport staff, those tests appear to have fallen away. I haven't been tested once in around a dozen domestic flights this year. 

Do we feel any less safe? Of course not. 

It is all a bit of a charade - but it would be good if it was, at least, a consistent charade.              

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